Ultimate Guide to Golden Retrievers

golden retriever

Golden retrievers are the perfect, joyful, and lovable companions. They fall into a category of dogs that make us ask, “What did we ever do to deserve dogs?”

Ever loyal with joyful exuberance, golden retrievers are a top choice for families with children, the handicapped, active singles, and seniors. They serve as guide dogs for the blind and hearing dogs for the deaf. They can as well be used as detection dogs and assistants for search and rescue operations.

These friendly, affectionate, good-natured, eager to learn and please, intelligent, and obedient dogs are fit for anyone who needs companionship.

Goldens, however, are not watchdogs because they are very trusting. They are so friendly and playful even with strangers which makes them a poor choice as a watchdog.

Origins of Golden Retrievers

Golden retrievers were created by cross breeding a yellow-colored retriever of unknown descent with a tweed water spaniel (now extinct) by the first Lord of Tweedmouth. The puppies born were yet crossed with another breed – the Irish setter. The resulting breed was the golden retriever with its fluffy, double coat sweet disposition.

Training

Just as children need to be trained to be well-behaved, so do dogs. They have to undergo various training sessions to keep them in check. Taking the nature of golden retrievers into consideration, all training sessions should be fun but firm to attain optimum results. Their training is better started when they are pretty young at about 7 to 8 weeks old. Keep in mind that their training must be gentle, yet consistent. Two major trainings to put your golden through is potty and socialization training.

House training

Puppies generally can’t hold their bladder for too long. This means you have to be observant and attentive enough to their needs. You can get them a crate as this will make them feel safe and secure as long as they are trained to stay in it, realizing that it’s their own space. Then you'll have to put them on a feeding schedule and take them outside after waking up, after each meal they have, and after playtime.

When you take them out, wait until they finish with their business. This requires patience but is well worth it. Once they're done, pat and praise them as a reward for doing it right. This will help your dog realize that they have done something right and will want to keep doing that.

Golden retrievers are especially interested in pleasing their owners. Once they notice you are pleased, they'll want to keep doing that which made you happy. Take a little time out to play before going back in.

You'll also need to be observant of body signals that your dog sends when they're pressed. When they make a mistake by messing up a spot in the house, do not yell at them. The dog can feel bad too. Instead, when you see them squatting to do so, reply with a firm “ha ha” or any other firm language you both understand to stop them, and then take the, outside. Once your dog gets older and gets the hang of it, give them more freedom to roam around the house.

Socialization training

As much as Goldens are friendly, you have to make them sociable to the proper degree, else you’ll have them everywhere they are wanted and unwanted.

There’s a period of time within which you can train them to socialize. This is between 7-12 weeks of age. You can take your golden retriever to a socialization class or school them yourself. Help them realize what to fear and what not to fear. Let them bond with you, your kids, and whoever you have taught him to perceive to be harmless. Let him learn to play with other dogs, but not to overdo it. Make them realize orders. For you to call your dog to order requires that they understand basic commands. Learning these basic commands requires consistency. Don’t give up.

Diet

Feed your golden retriever a balanced diet consisting of carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, fatty acids, and minerals. Steer clear of dog food with too many ingredients. Golden retrievers are susceptible to hip dysplasia. This can be triggered when puppies grow at a rapid rate. Try to keep them within weight. Normally, an adult golden retriever should weigh between 55-75 pounds.

Games

Goldens play a lot. As such, games go a long way. Get them toys, but don’t get too much. They enjoy retrieving toys (fetch). When playing outside, this is a fine way to help expend their energy. Also teach your golden retriever to locate hidden items. They are intelligent, so task them.

Health

Golden retrievers are susceptible to health issues common to other breeds. These issues include hip dysplasia which causes a lot of pain in the affected hip point. This makes it difficult to get up and walk. They are also susceptible to bloating, hypothyroidism, epilepsy and von willebrand’s disease which is hereditary (inability of blood to clot when injured).

Coat

The golden retriever has a dense coat that is water repellent along with a soft undercoat. Their outer coat is usually firm and can be either wavy or straight. Their color ranges from cream to all shades of gold. They shed quite a bit of their hair and will require brushing regularly. Also make sure to clean their ears often to avoid ear infections.

Golden retrievers also love to swim so you can indulge them from time to time. Giving them a bath from time to time will make them shower you with blessings.

Their exceptional eagerness to please will keep you in love with them. Being relatively harmless, they can be best buddies with your kids and friends with you for life. In their life span of 11-12 years, you can form an unbreakable bond.